GarageBand for iPad

Posted on March 29, 2011


For the last few days I have been getting over a really bad cold and chest infection, but that has given me time to play with my new iPad and one of the most highly anticipated Apps that I have looked forward to. At £2.99 why wouldn’t I ? The demonstration during the keynote looked impressive.

And that is where the problem lies. The demo basically covered it all. There is little beyond what you see in the keynote demo. I say this as someone who uses the desktop version which costs at least 25 times the cost of the iPad version. So I am NOT complaining – just pointing out fact.

Smart instruments

The smart instruments are very clever and bring an extra layer of creativity to compositions. I particularly like the guitars but I have some real issues.

For a novice these are fine, but for anyone who knows about creating music, you want to be able to arrange your own string of chords, not just a default set of chords for a specific key. Or at least an extra two buttons to toggle on or off the sharp and flat chords, maybe ninths and sevenths.

The smart drums and keys are OK but I wouldn’t use them myself.

In all the smart instruments the main issue, aside from the chord arrangements, is the limited auto strumming/playing and the restricted choice of instruments and effects.

After a while everything you compose using a smart instrument will end up sounding the same.

Main instruments

The main instruments are more useful and tailored to real music creators and composers. It is understandable that the range of sound in these instruments are limited, however I would have expected an advanced button when editing to release the sound editing features found in the desktop version.

As far as I can tell there is no way to import sounds from the desktop version, which is a real shame. People have probably purchase man audio unit instruments for their desktop versions of GarageBand but can’t take these with them in the road without a proper laptop. I am hoping that here will be a pro version of GarageBand coming as it really needs one before someone else produces it.

In conclusion

I have had a bit more time to play with the app, and have accepted it’s limitations. So now I use it differently, as an idea generating tool. I am waiting for the release of Alesis’ IO Dock, which looks great and should complete my iPad music setup.

Posted in: Apps, Music